Do you have an electric car? Have you ever pulled up to a public charging station and found that spot is being used by a regular old gas-powered car? Well Bill 123, the Reserved Parking for Electric Vehicle Charging Act, will change that by making it illegal to block an electric vehicle charging station, and it’s brought to you, in part, by Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.
“With this legislation, the Green Party is making its mark on Ontario politics, planting a small seed for the clean and caring economy,” said Schreiner is a media statement. “This is common sense legislation that makes life easier for EV drivers and removes one of the barriers standing in the way of EV adoption.”
Bill 123, which is amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, received Royal Assent after its third reading in the Ontario Legislature Thursday. The bill makes it illegal to park a vehicle at an EV charging station unless you’re driving an electric vehicle and have it connected to the charging equipment. The punishment is a fine of $125, which is hopefully one small step to address one of the biggest issues experienced by the growing constituency of EV owners.
“Current electric vehicle owners have found it incredibly frustrating to arrive at a high-speed charging station only to discover a vehicle parked in that charging space — a vehicle not connected to the charger,” explained Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby who co-sponsored the private members bill with Schreiner. “We must remind ourselves that charging stations are more than a convenience for electric owners; they’re a necessity.”
The bill was originally brought forward by Markham-Stouffville MPP Paul Calandra back in June, but it was left in limbo when Calandra was promoted to cabinet later that month. Schreiner and Coe were able to save the legislation in a rare instance of bi-partisan co-operation in the Legislature.
“I promised to put people before party and to do politics differently by working collaboratively to improve life for Ontarians. I am proud that the first Green legislation was a collective effort to make a small, albeit substantive, difference for EVs, which are essential to combating the climate crisis,” added Schreiner.
On this point, Schreiner’s gotten some criticism from other members of the Opposition. New Democratic MPP Peter Tabuns said Schreiner was “giving credibility to a government that has been engaged in a war on the environment,” while fellow NDP MPP Ian Arthur called the legislation “tokenism.”
A report earlier this year, noted that the same of electric vehicles dropped by more than 50 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, and the blame was laid at the feet of the Government of Ontario for cancelling the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program (EHVIP) in July 2018. According to Schreiner, it’s his hope that Bill 123 is a first step in undoing that the government’s policy and approach to EV incentives.
“Transportation is Ontario’s largest source of emissions. I will continue pushing the government to electrify every aspect of our transportation network and create jobs and investment in the $26 trillion global clean economy,” said Schreiner.